Who Are We Taking With Us?

The currency of heaven may be many things but in my opinion, faith and people are at the top of the list.

The Bible tells us without faith it is impossible to please God. Add to this the greatest of treasures we can store up in heaven, people, and we are on a winner. Begs the question then, as we work out our faith in Jesus, who am are taking with us?

Joshua and Caleb entered the promised land, eventually. They had to wait what may have seemed like forever, 40 years, for the moment to finally arrive. Yet they entered with the same focus and determination they had when the first opportunity had been provided them. More importantly though, they didn’t just enter for themselves, they took the next generation in with them.

These two men demonstrate 3 simple but extremely powerful qualities which in the busy way of life can so easily get lost.

TO WALK WELL WITH GOD

TO POINT PEOPLE TO JESUS

TO NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF GOD’S PROMISES

I watched an episode of Ambulance on BBC yesterday. The people being served were normal, every day people but they were broken people, some in desperate situations, others needing care, friendship, conversation, or even just someone to make them a cup of tea. Their stories were captivating and they stirred my heart.

Questions came flooding in.

Who am I taking with me?
How is my walk with God influencing the lives of those around me?
How is my people focus?
If my life is supposed to point people to Jesus, is it working?

This has to be the greatest of challenges for all Christians. We do well, we don’t do well. So maybe we need to be more vigilant. Is our belief coming through in how we live?

So here are some ‘top tips’ (for want of a better phrase) which I am committing myself to work on over the next few months and the rest of my life…

I will not let myself get bored with God.
I will work to keep my life pointed to Jesus.
I have to sharpen my people focus. To see people.
I won’t allow myself to become so easily frustrated with Gods ways.
I will always have people I want to take with me.

So who are we praying for, not preaching too? Who are we listening to, not just their voice but their heart too? Where are the opportunities to serve, not only ourselves but others too?

Maybe then, as we live out our faith in Jesus we will almost inadvertently be taking some people with us. And that will be AMAZING!!

Share your thoughts. Why do you think this is such a big challenge for us?

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Influence 2015.2

Listening to Pastor Ray Bevan this morning…

We need to recapture the wonder of the Gospel.

You don’t leave the presence of God the same way you came in. 

Luke 18:35-43 ~ Time to silence the bullies:

Self righteous call out for Jesus of Nazareth while the sick call out for Son of David. Self righteous cry out for credit not mercy. 

To you Jesus is just from Nazareth but for Bartimaeus Jesus was the Son of David. The one who could heal him and the world. 

Christian is not a sacrifice we make but a sacrifice we trust. 

We are not called to plant fruit. Repentance is a fruit. Holiness is a fruit. The goodness of God leads to repentance. Grace of God leads us to ungodliness. 

We are living under a new covenant that says ‘done’. Not under the old one that says ‘do’. Old covenant was conditional ‘if my people’ while Jesus said ‘it is finished’.

Rev 4:2-3
We don’t live under half a rainbow. Jesus has completed the rainbow. We live under a full rainbow. It’s not ‘if my people’ now it’s ‘only believe’. 

Now it’s ‘walk with me (Jesus)’ Matthew 11:28

It’s not how good you are at Spiritual disciplines but how could you are at trusting Jesus. 

Christians are so afraid of sin. Our focus should be on the finished work of Christ. Where sin abounds grace abounds much more. 

Old covenant is when clean touched unclean then clean becomes unclean. New covenant is when clean touches unclean then unclean becomes clean. 

Grace of God operates in the darkest of places. 




How’s The Attitude?

Here’s something I’ve learned in 25yrs of leadership ~ a leaders attitude determines a leaders influence. 

At 19 I had a pretty carefree attitude. I was only really a leader by title and position rather than a leader in lifestyle. That’s the journey I have travelled and will probably continue to travel until I go to heaven. 

Attitude is caught not taught. It’s not easy to teach others what the right attitude is for life’s multitude of circumstances. What works for one doesn’t always work for another.

5 things you could choose to do when it comes to improving your own attitude:

1. Learn by observing others. Find some leaders you admire or consider have a right attitude. Maybe you share some of the same values. Watch how they handle people, teams, make decisions, how they lead. 

2. Learn by getting it wrong. Not wilfully, that’s just daft. We all get things wrong from time to time. The difference is what you do with that. Don’t implode. Be a leader who can make adjustments along the way. Become better from the experience. 

3. Learn by surrounding yourself with like-minded people. Friends will encourage you to keep going when you may consider giving up. Don’t forget to return the favour when they need a friend. 

4. Learn by always thinking of others first. Leadership is about serving. It means you are not always right. I have learned that the attitude of ‘just do it because I’m the leader’ rarely wins people’s hearts. 

5. Learn that you’ll never stop learning. It’s been said many times by many people, leadership is a journey not a destination. As soon as you think you’ve got this attitude stuff sorted is the moment you are heading for a fall. 

If my attitude determines my leadership influence then it behooves me to continual be aware of what my attitude is really like. Otherwise people won’t be happy that I’m in a leadership role. 

I would love to know what you would add that can help people improve their attitude and become a better leader

Leaders Set The Pace

Your life has the opportunity to influence in so many ways. The problem is that many of these opportunities are either ignored or not even seen.

Reading Job 29, you see an individual who looked out, saw needs and met them. He was a one man servolution. It comes in response to his ‘friends’ and their determined effort to have him confess to guilty pleasures, some secret sin in his life, something that obviously wasn’t there. It would have been easy to confess to something bearing in mind the circumstances he found himself in, easy to think that they may have been right.

But Job stood strong.
Job was very self-aware. He knew where he had come from, what his life represented, that amongst his community he was a leader, someone that people looked to.

Leaders set the mood.
Leaders set the pace.
Leaders do this not only for themselves but for the community in which they live.
Job was a man of integrity.
He was also a man of influence too.

v25 ‘I was their leader, establishing the mood & setting the pace by which they lived. Where I led, they followed.’ [message]

Does your life stand up to the tests of integrity and influence?
Are the strong enough to hold you when others would push you to compromise?

Emergency Change Required

[Beware reading this post: this is one of those posts that may seriously confront you. It did me and I wrote it].

Every day we all do things.
We live life, make decisions, interact with people, use our time, complete tasks, think, chill, the list is endless.

What have you done today?

Everything you do leaves a mark.
It makes a difference. Even though you may not see it physically – every action creates a reaction. Your being somewhere, doing something, meeting someone, not meeting someone, your readiness to take a hold of opportunities or ignore them or just not even see them – they ALL leave a mark.

The apostle Paul said it like this ‘For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.’ What’s your smell like? How do people remember you?

Influence is an incredibly subtle thing.
We do it all the time without realising.
The danger with that is it may not always be the influence we imagine ourselves having.

Pastor John recently spoke about ‘repainting the landscape of Christianity in the region’. Incredible way to illustrate the potential we have. The INFLUENCE we can have as Xcel Church. Everything we do then is a part of that painting. Both as a Church but also as an individual. Our potential influence is wrapped up inside EVERYTHING we do.

Everyday you paint a picture of who you are…
Your actions.
Your lack of actions.
Your reactions.
Your words.
Your lifestyle choices.

Each one describes you. Each one shows who you really are to the world around you. Each one shows what is important to you and how you are living life at any given moment. And every day many of us tell the world and in so doing, lose our right to influence to our full potential.

How…well, forget the normal people interactions you have and just checkout your FACEBOOK & TWITTER profiles. We paint a picture that we would never have painted years ago. Full of mixed messages, negativity, lifestyle habits, choices, just plain weird stuff. They all paint a picture of you and it’s not always a great picture.

To be influential you have to be deliberate. You have to think about what you are doing and the impact that it could have. I want to do great things for God and I’m sure you do to but if we cannot manage our own lives well, why do we think God should entrust others to us as well. This is dangerous stuff to write but we are being challenged now to RISE TO THE OCCASION.

‘Everything is permissible but not everything is good for me’ [1 Cor 6:12]. It might be legal but how does it make you look? How does it make God look? What difference might it make to someone who then comes into church and sees you?

Where do you need an emergency change?
Where do you need a lifestyle x-ray to take place?
Where do you need to build some consistency into your life to increase your potenial to INFLUENCE people and be the ‘life-giving’ fragrance of God in their lives?

Interesting. Don’t hesitate.

How is your Influence?

When was the last time you reflected on your influence?

Who influences you?
Who do you influence?

John Maxwell says that leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. Without it you are not a leader. The disappointing factor is that many would-be leaders forget this.

You will be influencing.
Whether it is the right kind of influence is what you need to assess. Influence MUST be intentional. Ask yourself…who can you influence today? In what way will you influence someone to make it worthwhile?

Your ability to influence is essential to your success.

1. Think about who your are influencing
2. Look around at those who are in your crowd
3. Decide who you could invest in & be intentional about how you will influence them
4. Go for it

Influence Makes Vision Real

A thought, a dream, a vision. How does it happen?

One way: INFLUENCE

However great the idea if you cannot influence others to become part of it too it will never become the phenomenon you have dreamed it could be.

Don’t we have the ultimate in life-changing visions.
Don’t we believe that local Church is the hope for our nation.
Don’t we know that Jesus is the answer.

To grow a life-changing, people transforming, making a difference Church for the 21st Century – that’s why Xcel Church exists. That’s why I love being Pastor at Xcel Church Darlington.

A Church full of individuals.
A Church full of individuals with their own story of what God has done and is doing.
A Church full of individuals influencing their world.

You can be a great influencer by doing one of 3 three things…

Pray
Encourage
Ask

3 simple things we can do that can change somebodies eternal destiny.

I would love to see Xcel Church Darlington full of people but more than that, I would love to see it full of people, each one influencing as many people as they can. That’s how we change Darlington for God.

[September 7th in Central Hall, Darlington – let’s talk about this some more]

Leading a Team [2]

Continuing our discussion on leading teams, here some more observations…

Don’t let your feelings effect the team members feelings
It might be tough, things might not be as they should be, stuff might be going wrong – but as team leader here is a great lesson to learn – the rest of the team should not be affected by your annoyance of stuff going wrong or that you are just having ‘one of those days’.

Remember – you will get you chance to air your thoughts to those who lead you. One thing I learnt right at the beginning of all my leadership was this ‘Who needs to know?’ I reckon the person doesn’t need to know as often as they think they do.

The team leader is there to motivate not moan.

Keep your head while all around are losing theirs.
I know – it’s a very similar but I just like it as a thought. Your influence cannot be underestimated – if you remain calm amidst the chaos it will have an incredible effect. Make it a rule in your teams – no flapping allowed. Keep it light, keep it fun!

Team leaders set the tone – if you moan, the team moans. If you flap, the team will flap. If you are up for any challenge, the team will be up for it too. If you stay focused so will the rest of your team.

Any thoughts or experiences – I would love to hear about them